Ohio Wesleyan Receives $250,000 Gift to Support Curricular Innovation

Susan F. Palmer

Susan F. Palmer

Thomas W. Palmer

Thomas W. Palmer

DELAWARE, Ohio – Ohio Wesleyan University has received a five-year, $250,000 gift commitment from Thomas W. Palmer, OWU Class of 1969, and his wife, Susan F. Palmer, to support continued development of the OWU Connection curricular initiative.

The gift from the Toledo, Ohio, couple will create “The Thomas W. Palmer ’69 and Susan F. Palmer Endowed Fund for the OWU Connection.” Tom Palmer has practiced law for more than 40 years with Marshall & Melhorn, LLC, where he is a managing partner. Susan Palmer is a graduate of the University of Toledo, where she serves on the Board of Trustees.

“Committed to higher education, we are drawn to Ohio Wesleyan’s OWU Connection featuring education crossing traditional boundaries and helping students translate theory into practice in a global context,” the Palmers said. “We see this as a first step in our exploring ways to reconnect and get more involved with OWU’s offering distinctive and genuinely impactful opportunities in education, both for students and for faculty.”

The OWU Connection curricular initiative was created and launched by Ohio Wesleyan faculty members in 2009. It already has received two Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grants to support its development.

At Ohio Wesleyan, Tom Palmer majored in economics, graduated magna cum laude, and was member of Phi Beta Kappa. He also was a member of the Phi Delta Theta Fraternity and has served on the OWU Alumni Board.

After earning his OWU bachelor’s degree, he enrolled in the University of Michigan Law School, where he received his law degree in 1972. He has had leadership positions in a broad range of civic activities including the Toledo Lucas County Port Authority, The Regional Growth Partnership, Toledo’s Local Initiatives Services Corporation, The Toledo Cultural Arts Center and Historic Valentine Theatre, and the University of Toledo (UT) Medical College Advisory Board.

At UT, Susan Palmer is chair of the Academic and Student Affairs Committee for the Board of Trustees and a member of its Clinical Affairs Committee. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education from UT. Having been active at the Toledo Museum of Art for more than 35 years, she has been throughout a leading volunteer docent and has been engaged professionally in capacities that most recently included six years as the museum’s director of development. She also previously served as chairman of the Board of Trustees for ProMedica Toledo Children’s Hospital.

“Tom and Susan Palmer are active leaders in their community and beyond,” said Rock Jones, Ph.D., president of Ohio Wesleyan. “They are visionary in their understanding of and support for higher education. Ohio Wesleyan is honored to receive their generous contribution to support continued innovation in our curriculum. Thanks to their gift, and others, we believe Ohio Wesleyan will help to create the model curriculum for 21st century liberal arts institutions everywhere.”

The gift also enhances the Palmer legacy at Ohio Wesleyan – which is extensive, Jones said. In addition to Tom Palmer, other family members to graduate from Ohio Wesleyan include his father, C. Paul Palmer Jr., Class of 1932 (deceased); brother, Carleton P. Palmer III (1964); nephew, C. Paul Palmer IV (1996); and niece Elizabeth “Zibbi” Palmer Wentz (1999). His mother, Margaret M. Palmer (deceased), was made an honorary OWU alumna in 2000.

Learn more about the OWU Connection curricular initiative or more about giving to the university.


Founded in 1842, Ohio Wesleyan University is one of the nation’s premier liberal arts universities. Located in Delaware, Ohio, the private, coed university offers more than 90 undergraduate majors, minors, and concentrations, and competes in 23 NCAA Division III varsity sports. Ohio Wesleyan combines a challenging, internationally focused curriculum with off-campus learning and leadership opportunities to connect classroom theory with real-world practice. OWU’s 1,850 students represent 42 states and 37 countries. Ohio Wesleyan is featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives,” listed on the 2013 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction, and included in the U.S. News & World Report and Princeton Review “best colleges” lists. Learn more at www.owu.edu.

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